Hormone Therapy for Better Control

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Diabetes

On the Horizon

Each time you eat, your body quickly releases a natural gut hormone called GLP-1. It stimulates insulin, which escorts blood sugar into cells. It also slows stomach emptying, so you feel fuller longer. Now, Swedish researchers have found that boosting GLP-1's actions can help diabetics control blood sugar.

In a 4-week study of 93 people with type 2 diabetes, those who took an experimental drug that enhanced GLP-1 had significant decreases in fasting blood sugar levels and their after-meal levels as well (Diabetes Care, May 2002).

GLP-1 is tricky. "It only stays in circulation for about 1 minute," says researcher Bo Ahrén, MD, PhD, of Lund University. "So we used a substance that increased GLP-1 concentrations and allowed it to stay in the body longer. People took it with each meal." There were no adverse reactions. Although more study is needed, Dr. Ahrén expects the drug will be available within 2 to 3 years.

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By L.T.

Edited by Sari Harrar

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